Cheeky Library Tips

So around this time of year the library starts to get HEAVING. It is a place of hell, where you spend more time wandering around trying to find a space than actually using said space to do work! So here are some cheeky tips to help during this crazy period. Tried and tested! 

1. Depending on how you work, go LATE. And I mean real late, obviously this won’t work for everyone, but the library is a place of peace and sanctuary in the dead of night, although you will find a surprising number of people around!

2. Never go near Floor 0 – it is a free for all and you’ll never get the work done you need to!

3. Go along the side opposite Union House and the LCR. There might not be desks there but there are some comfy chairs and depending on whether you use a laptop or not, you can set yourself up your own little study hole.

4. Individual Study rooms run in 4 hour slot . If at 11:45 someone isn’t inside one, it’s reasonably safe to assume you could use one. So do! If the person arrives you politely leave and you’re in the same position you were, and if they don’t, you’ve got plenty of study time!

5. Get there EARLY. So this contrasts my earlier point, but in the same manner, 7.30/8.00 aren’t the most popular times for students to use the library (although you will again be surprised by how many people are accompanying you, particularly on floors 0 and 1!

6. The main library stairs – they’re big, if you really really are pushed for space, particularly at the top or bottom floors, you could set yourself up here

7. Remember, there are other areas on campus you can study. The IT block based near the bottom of the steps leaving the library and going behind the lecture theatres has loads of computers which can be used providing teaching is not on, and a room which is used only for study. This gets busy from 11-4 but is usually quiet before and after this! Similarly, EFRY, LSB and JSC all have areas for study, although no computers!

8. If you’re in the library for the long haul, bring all your stuff (drinks, snacks, jumpers, notepads etc) with you from the start! This means you won’t waste time wandering back and forth to get then but also means you won’t risk losing a precious study space! 

Binge Watching Shows for Students!

Here are my top 5 shows to binge watch on Netflix, Amazon, Sky Go, iPlayer, whatever you have, either as a SHORT! reprieve from studying or to reward yourself once you have finished! 

1. A league of their own. This show is hilariously funny and light hearted, it never fails to get me spirits up when I feel a bit stressed. I watched a whole season in a day whilst I did some less critical work as a chance to distress myself.

2. Bad Education. Another programme I find addictively funny but that was over with far too soon! There was however a movie to satisfy my cravings!

3. Fresh Meat. (Sorry a reoccurring Jack Whitehall theme here but I do love him). This never fails to make me laugh and gives me hope for my life, because, well, even at my hardest point, I seemed to cope better than one character or another!

4. Made in Chelsea. Nothing to take your mind off of uni stress like focusing all your efforts on envying the lives of the rich and semi-famous. Plus numerous individuals who are pleasing to look at!

5. Broadchurch. If you haven’t already and if you have, watch it again as you’re bound to have forgotten some things in the 2 year gap! This drama is so gripping and is exactly what I need sometimes to focus my mind on something other than stress and unhappiness!

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Exam Tips

So, I’m not claiming to be a pro, by any stretch, but these are 5 in exam tips that I have found help me feel more confident in myself!

1. Always ask for extra paper way before you need extra paper. It can take a couple of minutes for the invigilator to notice you and come round which can be precious time! If you put your hand up whilst you’rs still halfway through the page you’re on, you’ll have it ready and waiting!

2. Don’t sit by people you wouldn’t want to spend a normal lecture next too! There’s a reason you’ve chosen not to sit with them before and now is not the time to learn about all of their distracting habits!

3. Try not to go to the toilet. As someone that struggles to cram in all the answers in the allotted time, my sole piece of advice for those with similar problems would be to not waste any time going to the toilet. Pee right before and pee right after, it’s only a couple of hours and if you can hold it, try!

4. Split the first page of your answer booklet into two, 1 third page section and a 2/3 page section. The bigger one is for your plan, but the smaller one gives you space to write down any ideas that come to you mid-essay without making your work look untidy, unthought out or worse, risking it being mistaken as something not to be marked. 

5. Do not under any circumstances, try and figure out the answers after the exam. You will never remember all of the questions and will only make yourself unhappy and stressed by tricking yourself into believing you have got an answer wrong that actually you might not have!

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Reflective writing

So my most recent assignment was on something called ‘reflective writing’

We had to chose a mental health related event (this could be anything, even exam stress) and using a prescribed model (I.e description, feelings, evaluation, analysi, conclusion and action plan) and theoretical research, consider this event. 

Everyone seemed to find this really difficult at first, I think because it’s something so different from what we are used to! Which is understandable, but I’ve actually really enjoyed it! 

I reflected on some sleep problems I had a few years ago and actually writing this has helped me come to terms with it, in a way I’ve never been able to do before. The process involves really thinking through what has occurred and considering why. What I found most effective was the action plan. Because you use research related to your problem to produce a plan for what you would do if it occurred again. 

Reflective writing is most common in health science courses, so not all students would come across it. But if you do, I would encourage you to embrace it. It’s really good to do something different every now and then, and you never know.. you could be really good at it! 

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How to make Easter holidays productive

So the Easter holidays are nearly upon us and for some that means exams, others assignments. I’m not claiming to be an expect, but I thought I would put together a few tips on how to make it a productive but still fun holiday! 

1. Plan your work around days out. If you know you have family plans across the Easter weekend, that’s fine! Just make sure that you get in a good amount of work the days before and after that, so you can enjoy your time off without worrying. 

2. Do let yourself have time off. You need time to rewind and relax, it will help you work more effectively and avoid burnout syndrome. 

3. Structure your days ahead. If you have 2 assignments due right after Easter and exam a while after that, plan your time accordingly: 2 days on one assignment, 2 days on another and 1 day on the exam.

4. Do your most important work first, don’t put it off to the end of the day. That way, when it’s out of the way, you know you still have plenty of time for other bits, rather than having to rush the most important piece.

5. If you have odd jobs to do, like running to post office, use them as breaks. That way you don’t waste time but you’re still refreshing your brain. 

6. Before the Easter holidays begins, make a timetable for work, and try to stick to it. Make it realistic though – don’t aim to do both assignments in one week so you can relax the rest of the time. Spread out relaxation and work throughout! 

7. Go into uni a couple of days. Just being in the educational environment might help you work better!

8. Overload on chocolate… it’s good for you! 😏

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Thinking about Dissertation

So I know that a lot of second years will be beginning to think about their dissertations and I thought I could give a couple of tips on how not to panic about this super scary idea and prepare!

1. Make a list of anything you could be interested in, no matter how long

2. Search on the internet popular dissertation topics/debates (for your course)

3. Ask a third year student

4. If you are really unsure, 100% go and speak to your advisor! That’s what they’re there for

5. Read back over your lectures from the past two years and make a note of anything that interests you

6. When you have some chosen areas, do a brief literature search, you need to know what the current status of research is so you can choose a question that is useful to the field of research

7. Before going to see possible supervisors, be prepared. Know what you want to do and why. The more prepared you are, the more likely they are to work with you

8. Think about the ethical complications. You don’t want to pick something completely up feasible that takes forever to get ethical approval for

9. If you are still struggling for topic ideas, look at a few lecturers you would like to work with and read their most recent publications. If you can’t decide what you want to do, you can always ask to follow the train of research of theirs which most interests you

10. Make sure it is something you are interested in. Nothing could be worse than spending a whole year doing something you despise, so bare this in mind

And remember, enjoy yourself! You’ll do so much better if you engage with the research and enjoy the process! 

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First assignment… is in!

So a few weeks ago I wrote about how I was preparing for my first assignment… well after much hard work, sweat and tears, it is all done and submitted!

Despite the fact I have spent WEEKS on this, it’s been somewhat of a bumpy ride. I got a bit carried away and forgot my focus, which meant there wasn’t much sense to my essay, and there definitely wasn’t an argument. 

Then I struggled with the word count; as much of a student dilemma as you can get. I’ve sometimes heard people talk about not being able to write enough to get to the word count… I HAVE NEVER EVER HAD THIS PROBLEM IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. 

I can’t understand it, I’m usually thousands of word over and have to pick them out oneeeee by oneeee! 

On Monday I realised I wasn’t being very analytical and had to add a fair bit of analysis in, which once again took me well over the word count! 

But finally, after a much smaller amount of tears than I expected, it’s all done and dusted. I’m not sure how I feel about it, as I’ve think I’ve gone past the point of objectivity now, but I hope it’s good. I can say for a fact I have done my absolute best! Whether that pays off, well we’ll just have to wait and see.. if by February I haven’t mentioned it then you know it wasn’t good news! Haha! 

Does anyone else out there have as much assignment stress as I do? AND WHAT ABOUT THE WORD COUNT ISSUES! 

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I passed second year!

Hi Guys, hope you’re all enjoying the summer!

The last couple of weeks I’ve been waiting on eggshells the whole time, wondering when that dreaded email with my results would come through. You all know the feeling, that tight nervousness in your stomach and the jolt every time you get a new email and before you register who it is from! 

Well it finally came, and to be honest it could not come at a worse time! Having assumed it would arrive in the morning, I felt safe going into work at 4pm, knowing another day had gone by that I would not hear the news… Unfortunately not! 5.40pm and up pops an email, although at least it had good news; ‘successful completion of academic year’ was the title. 

I opened my results in the toilet as I was so scared about what they were going to be! I told my colleague and she was really understanding and kind and let me rush off!

Thankfully, everything was good news. Not only did I pass but I did well in my exams, and got a first in all of them! I’ve come out on 68% overall, which puts me in such a good position for next year, which I’m superrrrrr pleased about! And the relief is amazing, almost as good as when I finished exams! Not having to constantly worry anymore has left me knowing I can truly get on with my summer! Woohoo! 

I know that GCSE and A Level results days aren’t for a while, but I think the best thing you can do before then, is to assure yourself that you have done your best and you can do no more from now. I struggled this year as there was no specific time at which the Results would come out.. Just a vague “end of June or in July”, which meant I worried I would find out everyday. For you guys, the date is set and you know it.. So my advice would be to have as much fun as you can before then, putting it out of your mind. Let yourself worry about it the night before and no earlier! And just remember.. You’ve probably done amazing!! 

Freedom

SECOND YEAR IS OVER.

I can’t believe a year has gone by already, it barely feels like weeks ago that I was sitting in the introductory lectures for the course. 

I won’t lie and say this has been the best year, it’s been tough. There’s been tears and tantrums and things haven’t always gone as well as I could have hoped. Nevertheless, it’s over now and whatever happens with my grades I can look back and say I did the very best that I could. 

I’m very excited for summer, I’ve got lots of exciting stuff planned! I’m going to Oxford this Sunday, and London the next! I got an amazing deal for my London trip! I’m getting the megabus from UEA, and it’s cost me £8, which includes a booking fee! And it will only cost me £1 to park at UEA for the entire day! It’s definitely something UEA students looking for a day out should look into!

I’ve got my internship and I’m going to look at some work experience so that’s good, and I hopefully have a couple of holidays to look forward to! I’ve very glad this year is over, but time to move forward and I am looking forward to next year, doing modules I have chosen and a dissertation that interests me!

Effective Destressing!

So.. I am a majorly stressy person. The littlest things have the tendency to make my really stressed and panicky. I can imagine that others are feeling the same what with exam time just around the corner! So I’ve compiled a couple of tips on how to effective destress during those super stressful periods! 

1. Hot baths. I don’t care what anyone says, these work wonders. It relaxes your muscles which immediately makes you less tense, and gives you a little moment of peace to clear your head. 

2. Exercise. I love exercise, it makes me feel good about myself, healthier and most of all it gives me an escape from the worry and tension of everyday lives. 

3. Yoga. Kind of an expansion from the previous point, but worth its own mention. Yoga targets not only the body but the mind. It’s a perfect way of destressing with a workout and learning new techniques to strengthen your mind against stress. Most leisure centres and fitness parks offer Yoga classes, and at a variety of times throughout the day. A quick Google search on Yoga with your local area should return numerous results! 

4. Going for a walk. (I apologise for the increasingly exercise based part of this post haha). This doesn’t have to be as part of some new fitness regime, it can literally just be a way of clearing the head. Going for a walk anywhere, be it countryside, round the block or through the city gives you a chance to get out of the house, clear your head, and observe the goings on of other people’s lives. Taking that moment to engage in others around you detracts from the worry and stress that is in your own head. You may find when you come back from your walk that you feel better equipped to handle any problems you have, with a fresh perspective!

5. Animals. Animals are an excellent way to destress although I would suggest sticking to the fluffy, small and cute variety rather than a spontaneous attempt to hug a pidgeon or an equally unfriendly animal. I always find that when I’m stressed, giving my dog a hug always makes me feel better and calmer. Must be something about the fluffy coat. 

6. Talk to others. This may seem to some to be rude or burdensome, but for people who love you and care about you, they would rather you spoke to them about things that are causing you distress rather than bottling it all up, a technique which only ever makes things worse. Find the time to sit down with someone you love and talk over the things that are bothering you. You may find that once it’s out there rather than going round and round in your head, the things stressing you out seem much more manageable. 

As a follow up from this last point, it is important to understand that there are professionals out there that you can talk to if your stress is becoming so intense you feel it is affecting other aspects of your life such as your functioning. For those out at work there may be services provided through your employers, or it may involve talking to a healthcare professional. For those at uni, most universities will offer a counselling and guidance service for students. At UEA this is located within the Dean of Students Services.

I hope this offers some help to people out there that are stress heads like me!!